Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Buggin' out with baby shower cakes

In addition to my Lemon Week duties, I spent last week preparing for an important event: a baby shower for my friend, Kate, and her husband, Mike. Kate and Mike (shown above, with the gift of hot pink baby crocs) work with me, but I met Kate through our craft group a few months ago. Kate and Mike are expecting twin girls in August, so fellow craft grouper Lisa and I co-hosted a shower for them. And you know showers involve food, so I was eager to bake for the joyous occasion.

Early in the planning, Lisa and I (that's us below, as the shower was wrapping up) tried to decide on a shower theme. We thought about the extremely girlish possibilities. We considered the twin theme ideas. But then we started tossing around a theme of "cute bugs." In the end, the cute bug theme wasn't a huge part of the shower, but it gave us a starting point, and Kate loved it. (It must be noted that Kate - you know, the one expecting two little GIRLS - is not a huge fan of pink. So we've been quite careful to not over-pink her, but it's kinda hard when there are baby princesses on the way!) Cute bugs such as butterflies, ladybugs and dragonflies were mentioned. We decided to echo the nursery colors (light, light pink and sage green) with the shower decorations. (We later minimized the decorations as the shower was in a pavilion right off the water and it. was. windy.)

After the theme was decided, we discussed shower cakes. Knowing my background and love of cake decorating, I was appointed Cake Master. Lisa was my supreme guidance giver, as I sent her ideas I found on the internet. (Let me tell you: "Cute" bugs can be downright SCARY looking.) Then I narrowed it down to two ladybug cake options. The one was emerged victorious was a Wilton cake pan, which I bought at Michael's with one of their nifty 40% coupons. Score! I also bought Wilton Icing Colors in green and pink. No, we didn't go with the traditional ladybug hues. From my cake decorating experience, black is never REALLY black. I tried to make a manatee for my husband's birthday cake two years ago and it looked purple. Purple manatees? Not cool. And that had even started as a grayish black, so I was terrified about what a darker black would look like. And Wilton sells a "no-bitter red" color because the regular red coloring has a bitter taste. (From what I've heard, the no-bitter is just less-bitter.) Lisa and I were in agreement that we wanted no bitter icing at this party. The pink I ended up with was brighter than I had hoped, but the green/pink message was clear.

Cute bugs? Check. Shower colors for the cute bugs? Check. And as our guest list grew, we decided it was best to have TWO cakes - twin bugs! - for the shower.

So the week before the shower, I mapped out my game plan. I baked the yellow cake one night after work. I started icing it the next morning as I baked the chocolate cake and made some cookies. (The cookies, by the way, might be involved in our next theme week, so you'll just have to wait for that recipe. By the way, go vote for our next theme week! Upper right side of the blog.) The next morning, I worked on decorating the chocolate cake. That night (Friday night), I came home and made another batch of cookies and finished up the cakes.


I used familiar recipes for the actual cake (yellow sans cookie dough and chocolate sans oreo). I used the Wilton buttercream recipe but substituted vanilla for the butter flavor.

For a while, the cakes looked like fuzzy watermelons. But in the end, I think they came out well, and I was glad to have a hand-made part in Kate and Mike's shower. The cakes were cute, but no where near as cute as Kate with her "Mom to be" button on. Or as cute as Mike holding up booties that were the size of his ears. Or as cute as all of the PINK clothes and blankets those little girls got.


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